The Blessing of Unity
I enjoyed the symposium on Roman Catholicism and "American exceptionalism" (March). I appreciated both the complexity of issues and the diversity of thought. The symposium reflected many of the cross currents of direction in our own diocese. What rides through all this is the Catholic identity and the blessing of profound unity. I suppose we would, in the old days, call that grace. I trust we can say the same these days as well.
Also, I was struck by another blessing, one that has moved upon us slowly. After a century of Catholic social teaching and strong papal leadership, I believe we are now at a mature level. I remember my seminary days when Leo XIII's and Pius XI's developments in social teaching were seen as ideal but very remote. In particular, the Industry Council Plan and the vision of shared responsibility seemed very flimsy against the momentum of the capitalist system.
I think, too, of the civil rights years when local Church statements treated justice as pretty much of an appendix. The activists, on the other hand, had trouble with prayer and spirituality.
Some evidence indicates that things are now different. The bishops' recent pastoral letters are major illustrations. Another indication is that three years ago our Diocesan Pastoral Convention came up with justice as the number three concern of our people. Our committee of the Diocesan Pastoral Council has developed a perspective for the diocese making social justice very mainstream at the practical level. This last decade seems to mark a great change from a generation ago.
Most Rev. John S. Cummins
Bishop of Oakland
The Very Core of the Faith
I applaud Henri J.M. Nouwen's affirmation of Jesus' bodily resurrection (March). I am both amazed and disturbed by the number of Christians who underestimate this, the very core of their faith.
Sylvia D. Moyer
Following my return from India in 1975 after 24 years, I soon became an avid reader of NOR. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary!
The next 11 years in the U.S. saw me engaged in mental-health chaplaincy and high-school counseling. At age 60, I volunteered last August and was accepted for service at St. Peter's Diocesan Seminary in Cape Coast, Ghana, where I am now a spiritual director and teacher.
My fellow NOR readers, I know, would rejoice at the dedication of the rapidly growing Ghanaian Church's 220 seminarians, who lustily sing the praises of God (even at midday after over four hours of class), and who work hard, study hard, and pray hard in spite of enduring their share of economic "inconveniences." Moreover, they are devoted to the whole teaching of the Church which, of course, has doctrinal, moral, and social aspects.
St. Peter's Seminary does not have a library equal to the needs of these intellectually hungry young men. It would be wonderful if some (or many) of your readers could help fill this dire need by sending old and new philosophy, theology, and spiritual books to the Seminary.
I would also like to mention that monetary donations made out to the Mission Bureau or myself, and clearly designated for the purchase of new books for St. Peter's, Cape Coast, are also very welcome. Needless to say, the seminarians and I will respond with grateful thanks and prayers.
Rev. Robert J. Dullahan, S.J.
St. Peter's Regional Seminary
Cape Coast, Ghana
Vow of Poverty
I am a traditional Catholic sister engaged in nursing, and as I am under a vow of poverty, I have a very limited income. I cannot afford to pay for a subscription, but if anyone would like to send the NOR a check for my subscription, I would be most grateful.
Sr. Magdalen Therese, S.N.M.
Seneca Falls, New York